Hospice and the Type One Error

In Permaculture design, a Type One Error is an error which is so essentially wrong that no amount of time, energy, effort, or creative genius can completely overcome it. The only way to really beat a Type One Error is to start over. There is a Type One Error in how we do Medicare hospice care in the United States of America. The error is that hospice is a specialized healthcare ghetto outside of medicine’s bustling shiny downtown. In broad strokes, what happened was that when hospice came to the States, it was such a good idea--such a basic, natural, obvious, low-tech response to terminal illness--that the established healthcare system couldn’t grok it. In second-wave feminist terms, it was a feminine response—creating a safe, supportive space for a natural process; life completion and dying. The dominant paradigm in western medicine is still masculine —to do, to cut, medicate, analyze, atomize, and generally “science the shit out of this.” (Yes, “science” IS a verb.) So, ho